Editorial for 22 February: Nation building scheme opaque

In August 2011 the Caymanian Compass wrote and opined about
the auditor general’s queries concerning $7.1 million spent on Nation Building
initiatives.

Today we report that the Nation Building Fund topped $9.5
million from December 2009 to June 2012.

We’re still waiting for figures for the time period from
July last year to now.

The last time we wrote an opinion about the Nation Building
Fund, then-premier McKeeva Bush called us a litany of unfavourable names
including drunkards, heretics and devil worshippers.

Perhaps it was because we stepped on toes. Of the $4.6
million given to religious groups from the national building fund, half went to
two churches – Wesleyan Holiness Church West Bay, which received $1.3 million
and where Mr. Bush attends, and Church of God Bodden Town, which received $1
million.

We said then, and we repeat now, there is no doubt that
Cayman’s churches do very good things for the community and that government
should support churches when it can. But if government is going to support one
church, it should support them all or at least give them an opportunity to
participate.

Most worrying, though, is that the Wesleyan Church in West
Bay hasn’t done any construction on its planned $2 million two-storey church
hall with classrooms and apartments adjacent to the church building on North
West Point Road. In Bodden Town, work has come to an abrupt halt on the
multi-purpose hall that ‘isn’t a church but will be used for worship services’.

There should be a proper accounting for all of the money
doled out of the so-called Nation Building Fund for everyone to see. As we also
said before, all of the nation building spending could be completely legitimate
and warranted, but the truth is, the public – from where the money originates –
just doesn’t know.

Transparency is a must on this issue as well as other
government spending situations.

To keep facts hidden on spending in the Nation Building Fund
only leads to rumour and innuendo. That’s not something we need, especially in
an election year.

Government can, and should, do better.

 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. The seperation between state power and religious power in the major democracies has been established for a reason…and a very good reason too.

    As in anything else that might have been established for good reasons but become undermined and used for other purposes, this seperation of church and state has its downside and pitfalls…

    But the essential purpose remains for valid reasons.

    Cayman, being the traditionally religious country that it is, has been heavily influenced by its religious institutions…and their varying and sometimes even divergent beliefs…

    And therein lies the vulnerability of the religious culture…and community…being used for the purpose of influencing, gaining and maintaining political power within the community.

    This coalition of church and state has been the foundation of much of the wars and bloodshed that has engulfed the world…and in particular, Europe…for many centuries and while Cayman’s people are not encouraged to study the history of this union…they are very vulnerable to its power and influence.

    A political slush fund given to certain churches, regardless of what it is called, is a warning sign for Cayman’s community.

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  2. Randyke Garden addressing sewage Issues?

    I beg your pardon???? Isn’t that developer supposed to be sued and in court or was in court because he shirked his responsibioity to the homebuyers in Randyke gardens and they got a very bad deal from him? Why is government paying the tab for a rich developer who should bear the burden himself of that 45,00???
    Somebody help me please refresh this concern in this forum and tell us how thie really went. I remember people suing this Randyke Garden developer…..why is government paying 45,00 to address the sewage issue that is his problem and his responsibility?
    Also I think it is wrong to single out Killa Charles Whittaker Cayman’s Boxer of which many of us are proud.
    It is not our business that he received a grant any more than its our business to know the names of those students who got scholarship grants. I think the boxer should come under the same classified privacy rights as the names of students who received scholarship grants. It opens them up to criticizm and unnecessary targeting, abuse and victimization.
    So in the future it is not necessary to tell the public who received money for boxing etc. Just be sensible and state that so much money went to boxing or sports promotion. S
    top making a political football out of this whole nation building matter. A lot of it went to good use.My eye is on those churches who should be improving the lives of their people. Why don’t the churches hire some people? Giving them jobs or are they send for their friends, cousins, mama, papa, niece nephew from overseas and getting work permits for them?that has been happening too and it needs to stop.

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  3. Great editorial and thanks for the follow up. There is a seperation between church state in western civilization but our first Premier has been traveling to far away lands for so long I believe he forgot where he came from and I say this because he wares that Chinese Black power suite so much. Ellio should be sporting his soon. Back to the Nation Building fund I think this is a hoodwink to give the church leaders the people’s money. The governor should have stepped in and stoped this. Have you noticed how silent the Pastors are? It’s like the silence of the Lambs. I think this money should be given back to the treasurery and an investigation started.

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